Stoke-on-Trent recognised in top ten micro cities in Europe

Stoke-on-Trent is one of a handful of European cities to be picked for a prestigious award recognising places with the best prospects for inward investment, economic growth and business expansion.

The Potteries, famous for its longstanding ceramic connection, has been selected as one of the top 10 cities in Europe in the fDi Magazine, part of the Financial Times, European Cities of the Future Awards for Micro Cities.

The independently researched award, which recognises leading cities with a population of less than 250,000, picked out Stoke-on-Trent for its strong transport links and business connections across Europe – putting the city 6th in this year’s listing.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “This is fantastic news for the city as it recognises Stoke-on-Trent is punching above its weight not only in the country but Europe despite its relatively small population. As part of the city council’s Mandate for Change we are committed to bringing investment and opportunities to the city and this award recognises the fact that our city is definitely open for business.”

Stoke-on-Trent, which is under-going a £1.5billion transformation with major retail and office led developments in the city centre, has strong transport links with four international airports an hour away and direct train connections to London within an hour and a half. The fDi Magazine award recognises both the city’s transport links and the number of destinations in Europe that Stoke-on-Trent serves.

The city is home to a number of business headquarters including Michelin, FedEx UK, Phones 4U and Bet365 and serves a number of high profile businesses such as RBS, Portmerion, Converteam and Vodafone.

Councillor Meredith added: “Stoke-on-Trent has long been known as the World Capital of Ceramics with major brands such as Dudson and Steelite based here in the city. However, the city is also growing its business base in key sectors such as advanced manufacturing and environmental technologies with the city encouraging links with leading businesses such as Siemens. It is an interesting time for the city and the city council, along with its partners, are committed to creating a red carpet approach which supports investment and shows Stoke-on-Trent is open for business.”

The fDi Magazine Cities and Regions of the Future shortlists are created from an independent collection of data by fDi Benchmark across 223 European cities and 142 European regions. This information is set under six categories: economic potential, human resources, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure and business friendliness.
They look at everything from the cost effectiveness of office space, number of graduates and universities, population growth, number of businesses in knowledge-intensive sectors and spend on research and development.

Cities and regions are then scored up to a maximum of 10 points under each individual criteria, which are weighted by importance to give the overall scores. Where data was available only at a national rather than city or regional level, a lower weighting was applied.
Other cities recognised within Stoke-on-Trent’s category include Basel and Genk in Belgium. Stoke-on-Trent is positioned above Cambridge, Nottingham and Reykjavik in Iceland in the micro city listing.
The award has been welcomed by businesses which see the accolade as recognition for the strides being made to regenerate and increase investment in the city.

Duncan Mathieson, Managing Director of Realis, the developer behind the city’s new £350million regional shopping and leisure destination City Sentral, said: “I have long been convinced of the potential of Stoke-on-Trent.  All the fundamentals are right and I believe it is on the brink of real economic renaissance. As a result, we have remained firmly committed to our scheme at a time when many other retail-led regeneration projects have fallen by the wayside.  It is great to see the city gain the recognition it deserves.”